With the four-day Brazilian hard enduro event unexpectedly cut short to two days, Cody Webb and Alfredo Gomez found themselves as early podium finishers at the second running of the Red Bull Minas Riders, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
For Webb, who was making his hard enduro rallye debut, the race was gearing up to be a battle for victory right until the chequered flag.
Placing third in the event’s rain-soaked prologue aboard his KTM 300 EXC machine, Webb then picked up his pace when the race entered the mountains for off-road day one. Despite it being his first GPS navigated hard enduro rallye, the KTM rider coped impressively to end day one as overall runner-up.
“All-in-all this has been a pretty crazy few days,” confirmed Webb. “It was good to get through the prologue ok but I started the first day as the first rider – I knew Graham and Alfredo were pushing hard to chase me down. I had to ride hard to react. Graham caught me and we rode together a lot before service. Towards the end I managed to catch and pass him on the final section. But it was good.”
Picking his pace up dramatically Webb then went on to win day two and close the gap to then provisional leader Graham Jarvis. But with organisers given no option but to cut the race short due to environmental concerns Webb was forced to settle for second.
“It was insane out there on day two, one hell of an experience,” told Webb. “I’ve ridden some hard stuff before but that was on another level. It was relentless for more than five hours of unforgiving terrain. We were up in the mountains on crazy goat trails and then deep in the jungle with tight, tight trees to squeeze past. To get a stage win was amazing, it’s just a shame that it was also the end of the race.”
As the event’s defending champion, Gomez started his campaign in winning style by topping the prologue. But a series of crashes and mistakes hampered his progress on day one, dropping him to third. Unable to close the gap to the leading duo on day two, the Spaniard ended his race third overall.
“It’s great to race in Brazil and starting Red Bull Minas Riders off with a win in the prologue was perfect,” told Gomez. “I don’t think anyone was really expecting the kind of weather we’ve had here in Brazil. It’s disappointing but following the prologue things didn’t go well for me. On day one I just made so many mistakes and crashed way too many times.
“Also, a few weeks ago in training I hurt my shoulder and then on day two I hurt it again, so most of the day was a struggle. When I arrived at a hard section I couldn’t push and made mistakes.”
Results — Red Bull Minas Riders, final classification
1. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 5:46:47
2. Cody Webb (KTM) 5:49:29
3. Alfredo Gomez (KTM) 6:03:51
4. Philipp Scholz (KTM) 6:15:01
5. Paul Bolton (KTM) 6:37:28
6. Pol Tarres (Beta) 6:52:57